(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Justice Ministry Police Investigations Department announced on Monday that a senior officer, identified widely in the media as Asst.-Ch.
Nissim Mor, was questioned over sexual harassment and indecent sexual acts allegations, opening up yet another top official to scandal.
“Police are in need of a root canal,” said Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino in response to his deputy’s questioning.
“This incident is a severe one and the latest in a series of cases that involved senior officials in the organization.
These incidents deal a blow to public faith in the police and call for a root canal [of the organization],” Danino said Monday.
If the officer resigns due to the investigation, he will be the seventh at his rank to resign from police amid scandal in a little over a year, and the third because of a sex scandal.
Danino said twice how necessary the police are to Israeli society, before adding that he would not compromise on the values he expects from officers.
He said that as in other campaigns, such as police actions against corruption, with more investigations of senior police officials, more deterrence is created against other officers.
“I’d like to say to the citizens [of Israel]: You have a police force that you can trust, despite these recent events, and we have our way of dealing with them.”
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein sent a letter of support to Danino, and even slightly rebuked him for his depressing-sounding quotes to the media, urging him to keep his head high and complimenting his cooperation with the Police Investigations Department (PID).
The allegations are that the officer sexually harassed and committed indecent sexual acts against a lower level policewoman who needed his help, using his seniority to take advantage of her.
There were eight other women possibly also harassed by the senior official.
The same officer was also questioned about possible sexual harassment of the other female police officers and about allegations that he obstructed justice and destroyed evidence.
Those allegations say that immediately after receiving a telephone call from the head of PID, he began trying to cover up his crimes.
The PID statement said that the investigation was opened on referral by another high-ranking police officer, who learned of the allegations and fulfilled his duty by reporting the suspect to PID.
The senior officer has been released to house arrest for a five-day period, after which his situation will be reevaluated pending the investigation.
The officer was questioned for four hours early Monday and for another seven hours later Monday.
In October 2013, then Jerusalem District chief Nisso Shaham resigned after he was indicted for sex crimes against female officers who worked for him.
A few months later, former Northern District Cmdr. Roni Atia resigned after a State Comptroller’s report found fault with his handling of the 2010 Carmel Forest fire.
The next month, Menashe Arbiv, head of the elite serious crimes unit Lahav 433, resigned in a highly publicized scandal involving suspicions he accepted bribes from Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto in exchange for information about a police case against him.
Bruno Stein, former commander of the Central District, resigned in September 2014 after pictures were published by Haaretz showing him at a private event held by attorney Ronald Fisher, at the time the main suspect in a major bribery case.
Yossi Pariente, the head of the Jerusalem District police, resigned the same month due to unnamed “personal reasons.”
Finally, on Saturday, police announced that Judea and Samaria District Cmdr. Kobi Cohen was leaving his post amid suspicion he carried out a relationship of a sexual nature with a female police officer.